Starting in 2009, some homeowners in Florida began notice noxious fumes coming from the drywall in their homes. It was soon discovered that the problematic drywall had been imported from China, which resulted in a number of homeowners filing class-action suits. In 2010, one family was awarded 2.5 million in damages. Now, a Chinese manufacturer of drywall has agreed to pay damages to homeowners who have filed thousands of class action suits in Louisiana:
Under the agreement, which could receive final approval next year, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, a Chinese affiliate of Germany’s Knauf Gips KG, would provide cash settlements or pay to replace the drywall in affected homes. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against KPT and other Chinese makers of the affected drywall, which was installed in homes during the housing boom of the mid-2000s, when domestic drywall was in short supply.
Homeowners, many in Southern states, have complained of a rotten-egg odor and sulfur fumes that corrode wiring and metal pipes. About 5,200 plaintiffs allege that their homes contain the problematic KPT drywall, and roughly half of those have submitted evidence.
Steven Glickstein, an attorney representing KPT, said the company was “pleased to have the problem behind them, or at least start the process now in a very definitive way.” Some plaintiffs’ lawyers said the cost of the settlement could reach $1 billion. KPT said it is too early to provide an estimate.